Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Mgr. François-Xavier de Montmorency Laval


Laval-Montmorency, François Xavier (1623-1708), first bishop of Quebec, was born at Montigny-sur-Avre, France, on April 30, 1623, the son of Hugues de Laval, seignior of Montigny, and Michelle de Péricard. He was educated at the Jesuit college of La Flèche and at the Collège de Clermont in Paris, and he was ordained a priest in 1647. In 1658 he was consecrated bishop of Petraea in partibus, and was appointed by the Pope apostolic vicar in New France. He arrived in Quebec in 1659, and from that date until 1688 he had oversight of the spiritual life of the colony. In 1674 he was given the title of bishop of Quebec ; from 1663 he was a member of the Sovereign or Supreme Council; and at all stages he exerted a powerful influence in the affairs of the colony. Several governors who crossed his path were recalled, notably Avaugour, Mézy, and Frontenac. He waged a bitter warfare on the sale of spirituous liquors to the Indians; he organized the parochial system of New France ; and he founded at Quebec the seminary which, in 1852, became Laval University. In 1688 ill-health compelled him to hand over the charge of the see to his successor, Bishop de St. Valier; but he continued to live at Quebec in the seminary which he had founded, placing himself humbly under the authority of the father superior, and here he died on May 6, 1708. A man of illustrious and aristocratic origin, he could brook no opposition, and his tenure of the bishopric was far from peaceful; but his personal piety and disinterestedness were complete.


See Abbé H. A. Scott, Bishop Laval (Toronto, 1926) ; A. Leblond de Brumath, Bishop Laval (Toronto, 1906); Abbé A. Gosselin, François de Montmoyency-Laval (Quebec, 1890; new ed., 1906) ; Mgr H. Têtu, Mgr de Laval (Quebec, 1887) and Les évêques de Québec (Quebec, 1889); and Abbé C. Roy, Mgr de Laval (Quebec, 1923).

Source : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. IV, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 400p., p. 2.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College